Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gearing up or winding down or whatever.

 I have been scrambling lately and I do believe 'tis the season and all that jazz.  I hosted book club last night and now I'm gearing up to leave for an anniversary overnighter with Adrain to a nearby exotic location that HE planned fully, by himself, and in 19 years of marriage that is a first time and a BIGGIE in my book.  I have been told there will be sparkling wine in the room and a spa appointment.  What?! Well okay... I guess I can go along with that. He also arranged childcare (can you still call it that when you have kids this age?) with his two little sisters so I've been busy freshening guest room bedsheets and whipping up little baskets of fluffy white towels and toiletries and yummy little chocolate treats. And arranging ballet carpooling times.  And buying pizzas.  Because you can't leave your children to just starve you know.

Then we get back and it's right into Thanksgiving week prep for which I am hosting my side of the family this year.  I haven't seen them on the actual thanksgiving day in a few years and I'm so excited!  We will have blessing bags to fill together.  Such a wonderful idea that my kids had, to use their allowance tithes- but we're having everyone participate! We're making twelve bags so everyone brings a dozen of various toiletry items such as 12 toothpastes, 12 granola bars, 12 deodorants, 12 band aid boxes, 12 bottled waters, 12 matchbooks etc, and then you assembly line it, giving everyone a gallon sized zip lock bag to fill with one of each item.  Everyone goes home with a few bags to stash in their cars and when you pass homeless people on the street, you have a little blessing in a bag to offer them during the holiday season.  It's a small thing really but it might mean something to another person out there.  We love counting our blessings on Thanksgiving but there are so many people who can't say that they are thankful for so many of the same things we are thankful for.  It's a great way to encourage outward thinking on this special holiday, with your kids and a fun tradition to get everyone involved in. 

{print via}
Of course there will also be gingerbread houses to decorate, a post-meal walk to take, there might be a game of football on the street between my brother and son and husband, and then of course the Seahawks will be playing at 5pm and the house will be full of yelling, and more family members might pop in from Adrain's side for leftovers.  Then we will have one day for recovery (and Christmas decorating?) and another fun day of feasting with Adrain's side.

The anticipation of all the memories is my favorite part. Right here, right now. Savoring the possibilities.

Speaking of anticipation.  This year I found a treasure.  I can't wait to unfurl it.  Literally.  Family Life Today sold these rolls of ribbon, printed with conversation-provoking questions that you can cut and use as napkin ties.  I am dying to set my table all cute and use these.  Here is just a taste of what's to come...(not because I'm holding out on you... I just really don't know what I'm doing with my table yet.  I do know that I'm using these though!)  At all cost.. make it meaningful is my motto.

{Canvas via}
I remember thanksgiving when I was a little girl.  It seemed to last all day.  Do you know what I mean?  It was special and Christmas wasn't hovering over it, about to pounce, like a cat over a mouse.  (Though I do have my vintage ornament wrapped canvas hanging up in the guest room because a friend wanted to see it and I took it out to show her then just couldn't put it back in the box because it's so pretty. I did that last year too.  S'okay.) But you know what I mean.  I know you do.  One second I'm walking in crunchy leaves and thinking, "Hey Thanksgiving deserves it's time in the spotlight," then the next I'm listening to Christmas music while wrapping presents and thinking, "Eh, what's the harm in merging these holidays anyway?"  Well I don't have the answer to that.  I love them both and I waffle in my convictions.  And besides, it's not like there's a lot of Thanksgiving music to listen to.  You know?

Also.  I drink coffee now.  This is big news people.  I really do.  Not black of course because that would be crazy.  Ava got me drinking frappuccinos with her after school and then I moved onto the light peppermint mochas and now I'm hooked and I think about afternoon coffee sometimes, in the middle of the morning.  One of my friends told me that I'm not really "drinking coffee"... I'm kind of doing the wine cooler version of coffee.  It's all sugary and flavored and there might be a hint of coffee in that cup someplace.  Well you know what I say to that.  Baby steps people.  It took me 39 years to get to this place.  Adrain is drinking it too.  We had lattes the other day.  It was so weird and we felt like we were finally growing up.  I wanted one with art on it but we weren't at a place where they did latte art. And sometimes we can't have it all. 

Speaking of latte art. I love watching latte art youtubes before bed.  It's so relaxing.  Little known Sasha quirk.

Okay I'm rambling now.  This is why I don't blog more.  I lose focus and start thinking of too many topics.  Eh. I blame the holiday madness.

Maybe I should go find some coffee.

 photo PostSignature_zpsb6968ede.png
 This week's shop favorites (all available here) are...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Closet solutions after almost 12 years

I would first like to begin by saying, that closets are perhaps the hardest things in the world besides a wiggly 2 year-old who only wants his mommy, to photograph.  Just saying.

I can remember walking through this house for the first time (and my home story has been lovingly shared over here) and seeing this closet and falling hard... in love.  It was a wide open, large space off the master bathroom.  Something like ten feet by ten feet. Just enormous!  And oh, the possibilities! 

Then about a decade ago, we got an estimate for closet built-ins and after seeing four large numbers in front of the decimal we laughed and said no thanks.  I would also like to say that this closet is so huge I have had dreams about discovering (quite by freak surprise) that I was pregnant and working to convert this into a baby's room.  True story.  Thankfully those were only dreams.  We live in 1500 square feet of house, including this huge closet, and I never forget even for a moment, that this is extensive luxury by the majority of the world. 

However.  This closet has the worst wire rack positioning known to man, and the weirdest of configurations.  I dreamed of ripping off the long and nearly useless wire racks on the back wall for years.  (My husband was the only person who could reach the tallest one, and the lower one was too low to hang anything but my pants and shirts on and the heater vent is right in the middle of all that.  So weird. I wanted a cubby system or chest of drawers... or both.  Enter Ikea pricing (and wild cheering).

Oh and I forgot... one more disclaimer.  You can come to my house and pretty much open up any drawer or cupboard and see blissful and beautiful organization (bearing in mind that I do have children who frequently disregard any and all organizational techniques) but this closet is my vice or something,  and I've never really cared overmuch how it worked.  I have always just thrown things on the floor.  I know.  It's so weird.  And unlike me.  Just so you know... I have never claimed perfection.  Ha!  So here is the before in all it's horrible glory. I took a photo on the worst day I had ever seen it- normally it's not so bad in here.  I wanted you to really "get it."
 I just breathed a sign of relief.

We went through and put all the non-closet items where they belonged which was a process of course, and then dragged everything out, painted the walls "Stormy skies" just like our bedroom and master bath and finished painting the trim white just like the rest of the house.  Then we moved an Ikea Hemnes 8-drawer dresser in, and put a Kallax cubby shelf on top of it.  I bought a 3-pack of bins from Ikea that fit on the shelves and painted labels on them with gold leaf paint.  (It didn't work so well, and bled and made a bit of a mess.  Oops.  Should have tried an inconspicuous spot first.  So note to you- try a fabric safe paint and try it on the bottom first.)
 This was a our catch-all room. Nobody but Adrain and I ever saw it so we didn't really care.  But now it's pretty and I DO care!  Amazing how a little organization will do that!
 I have a shoe solution coming too, but I'm not going to do it just yet.  I'll share when I have that finished.
 Adrain's clothes are so big and he just shoved them on the top shelf in a messy pile.  Bless his heart.  The man is very tidy like me but this was just the way it was. Now he has spacious drawers and cubbies and it works so much better!
 My husband has a lot more clothing than I do. (I believe this should be remedied.)  (I have way more shoes though, and he thought it was funny that my hand bags got their own cubbies.)


 So there you have it.  Our closet, organized and pretty... at long last. 
 photo PostSignature_zpsb6968ede.png

Friday, November 14, 2014

The tides of relationships.

Sweet friends... have you been thinking that I had fallen off the face of the planet lately?  I promise I haven't.  I have been rushing around with life, gazing longingly at the computer, and so missing our chats. 

The other day I was about 20 minutes early to pick my daughter up from ballet.  Normally I would just sit in my car and wait for her, but I happened to see one of my nieces walking around in the lobby all by herself and I jumped out of the car and busted right in to see her.  She was waiting for my cousin to come get her (I know, she's not really my niece.  Whatevs.  I'm still "Auntie Sasha".) Anyhow, I got a giant hug from her and I said, "Emma, let's have a little date while we wait!  I'll buy you a treat to drink and you can tell me all about 4th grade life." She rewarded me with a beaming smile and exuberant "YES!"  So we did.  We belly laughed about buffalo, (you kind of had to be there) and she told me about her favorite subject (art) and friends, and what she wanted for Christmas, and American girl dolls, and how she felt about this and that, and it was fantastic.  We told corny thanksgiving jokes and knock knock jokes to each other, and that 20 minutes was precious, all for the price of my time and a berry smoothie with whipped cream.  

That funneled me into thinking about all my relationships, not just the adult ones.  They all matter because these little people will grow up and I want to know them just as well as the adults they will one day become! So, on Friday after school, I met my kids at the front door with gingerbread men from Trader Joes and a movie (A Big Year- LOVED this movie...) all cued up on the tv. We just ditched backpacks to be dealt with later and cuddled and laughed and made memories. It didn't cost me anything but my time and a box of cookies and it was truly delightful.  

Relationships matter.  Every single one of them, even the ones that are no longer, for one reason or another.  I've had my share of those this year and though it has been a hard lesson in boundaries (I'm not so great with those) and priorities and not going on Facebook, (somebody knows what I'm talking about) I've learned that bitterness is a hard battle but SO worth fighting against when a friend hurts you.  Whenever a relationship is removed, it seems that God has a plan for a different one and I've definitely seen blessings in trusting Him for that.  The only way to do any relationship whether it's coming or going, is to put on love.  Love is a shield against bitterness after hurt, and love is a motivator with friendships, yet in the bud-stage, waiting for time to flower them. It always kind of comes down to loving others, doesn't it?  Love no matter the cost.  What would this world be like if everyone did that?

{Colossians 3:13-14 The Message} 
"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. 
Never be without it."
 photo PostSignature_zpsb6968ede.png
One of the things I have been working hard on, is a small winter collection for my shop.  I SO hope you love these as much as I do.  Each one is special to me and I love to think that some of them might grace your holiday homes or become special gifts for loved ones! {Click here to shop}

Monday, November 3, 2014

PB Inspired Advent DIY (+ Younique party!)

Hi sweet things! Today is a mish mosh post!  I like those. We survived Halloween and Joe had TWO Friends show up.  We had six middle schoolers in all, and it felt like 20 especially when the dance party broke out and they made me dance with them.  I speak middle school girl. Did you know that? Hey I can sing Taylor Swift songs with the best of 'em. And then I praised God for the extra hour of sleep we got with daylight savings.

Moving on. For a while now, I have been in LOVE with this advent holder. Counting down the days with my kiddos is always one of my very favorite things about the Christmas season and I love planning ahead a little.  I normally do little pieces of candy or something sweet but I was thinking about doing something this year with lots of little random goodies- encouraging notes, gum, candy canes, small gifts, later bedtime passes and things like that to make it fun.  In the past, I've used these buckets with number stickers on them and hung them on our ladder and last year I did little draw string bags.  I wanted something smaller to hang on the wall so when I saw the PB advent with buckets my heart went pitter pat! But hello?  Priced at $159 + s/h.  Nope. Sigh. Plus, I'm wasn't the biggest fan of the darker wood colors (for my house)- you know me and white, light, bright, airy.  All things.

SO, like any good Pottery Barn groupie, I made my own version, inspired by theirs. I began by laying out all of my buckets. I purchased mine here several years ago- but they still have them.  I laid them out so I could get a basic size for the board I wanted to hold them.

I ended up needing a 20x24" piece of plywood + outside trim pieces.  The nice people at Lowe's will cut the board for you.  Once I had cut and nailed on the trim pieces I painted it cream.  (I didn't get any before photos because it's pretty basic and I have confidence you can figure out how to nail trim around a board without having to see a photo of it.  (wink)
 This is the paint I used to coat my wood "box."
 This is how it looked once it was finished.

 I knew I needed 25 cup hooks and Michaels had packages of 20 for about $2.50.  I grabbed two packages and was all set!
 Next came making the buckets... I used Avery brown craft labels (square) size # 22846 (because that's what I had on hand) and cut them into rounds. (There are much easier ways to do this, I'm just telling you how I did it using what I had mostly on hand.) Then I stamped them with a white chalk stamp.  I have had these stamps for years and I have no idea where I got them... so sorry!  I see them around places like the craft stores though.  If you wanted to be very fancy you could just print them off on the computer using the Avery software, but I really wanted white numbers.  The chalk stamp pad was pretty light so I went over them with a chalk pen. They turned out imperfectly perfect! (Someday I should peel all the bottom stickers off too.. but I probably won't.)

 Then I did math.  Grr. I hate math.  I marked all five lines of five hook placements and then drilled small holes with a 1/16 drill bit, (which I probably could have done using a slightly larger one but I didn't want to ruin it by going too large.)  You're going to have to figure out the math part for yourselves.  I can't help you there. Then I made my man screw them all in for me between handing out candy to trick or treaters, because it made my fingers ache.  He's sweet like that. 

 I am not going to lie, the moment it was done, my heart flipped.  They were just how I envisioned them and now I get to fill them all up with wee goodies and treats in just a short month!  (Wait... my heart might have JUST panicked at THAT thought... a month?  Yikers!) I'd love to hear any cute advent ideas that you can think of that you might leave in these buckets if you were making this. (They are very small.) I think tickets for "get an extra hour past your bedtime" are going to be the biggest hit.  That's a sore point around here these days. Ha! I was also thinking "go out to cocoa with mom and dad tonight" might be a fun one too.  It doesn't all have to be candy!


 Okay now... let's talk product and scarves- (here is the neck warmer that y'all wanted to see when I mentioned it in my last post.)  Holiday product, now.  More specifically, Younique.  My makeup BFF.  I love, love, love, love, love it.  I think I love the mascara and make up brushes so much (that's what I've tried so far) that I'm going to try their foundations next.  I am so hooked people!

My girl Carli is letting me host another virtual Younique party so if you need pretty product things for all of those family gatherings, parties, events and gifts for your female friends and loved ones... now is the perfect time to stock up on them!  (I especially love their Moodstruck 3-D fiber lash mascara and posted about it here if you remember...still can't believe how crazy long it makes my eyelashes look.  You will LOVE it... I mean, if you're into that sort of thing.  Which I totally am.  If someone had given me this as a gift I would have flipped.)

And before I close a few shoppity shop things.
1) I am not making Christmas tree garlands this year.  Maybe next year I will but I couldn't fit them in at all and I am so sorry.  I have gotten tons of inquiries and I wish I could have but unless I hired someone it isn't in the plans at this point.
2) I will be closing my shop from December 12 until the New Year so if you're going to order, make sure and get them in before that date.
3) I've just added these two vintage ornament prints into my shop as Giclee prints.  Aren't they just like pretty, sparkly jewels?  I am not offering these as wrapped canvases, only as prints in sizes 11x14, 8x10, 5x7 and note cards sets (of 8 cards) sized approx 4x6".   Remember, they will only be available until December 12! Click here to shop. (I am still offering a 10% discount with code "FALL10" when you checkout.)

Okay friends, that's it today, maybe even for this whole week.  I posted a lot last week and it felt nice but I'm gonna be running hither and yon the rest of this week with work and fun and probably no time to post much!  So make sure you swing by and pick up any product goodies and that fabulous 3-D fiberlash mascara that I LOVE at  the Younique party I'm hosting all week.  Get all your pre-holiday beauty products!
 photo PostSignature_zpsb6968ede.png

Friday, October 31, 2014

Oh just lots of things.

I always love how a few of my friends do get togethers.  We might not see each other for months but then we bump into one another or meet for coffee and we talk about everything from one end of the gamut to the other.  We laugh, share our hearts, catch up, talk about kids, hubbies, marriage, life, God and then we might even shed a tear or two.  I always leave those times feeling full.  Do you know what I mean?  I'm sitting here today with a whole range of thoughts in my head and undoubtedly, if we were meeting up in real life, it would be one of those visits. Thought I'd take just a second and jot a few biggies down to chat about with you. 

I've been so mad lately, and I've been having angry dreams which is totally unlike me and very odd.  I told my kids that they could invite a "friend or two" to trick or treat with... and my son invited at least a dozen kids.  He hasn't ever been one of those boys that got play date invites or many birthday party invitations, and hasn't got a best buddy. Never has. I watched him call and invite friends and of course they all had plans.  It made me mad to watch him shake off rejection and the fact that that is his story, so I'm doing my best to get over it while I pray frantically that at least one boy shows up.  My angry dreams were of me, doing things like yelling at a house full of kids to eat oatmeal for breakfast but they couldn't hear me for some reason, and one or two kept wandering off every time I tried to get them to all sit at the table!  I had another weird one about walking in to the house filled with kids, and every single room had been taken apart and was a huge mess, and nobody could hear my voice even though I was yelling as loudly as I could.  I think I need a vacation!  Does that ever happen to you?  Of course I take all my dreams apart and analyze them with Adrain.  Somehow it helps.  I believe dreams aren't always random.  Ya know? Apparently I'm freaking out about not being heard in this house (true) and breakfast has been an issue lately (also true), and the thought of having more than two kids in my house is stressing me out. (Again, truth here, as I've always got children that don't belong to me in this house after school.  They just start knocking on the door and lounging on the sofa and eating all the food and even though I know this was part of the ministry God had intended for us several years ago when we felt like He was reshaping how we did life... I think I'm overwhelmed! Maybe just a tad...)

However that brings me to this.  The other day I was reading something about something BIG someone else was doing (Oh I know.. you don't have to tell me not to compare) and I started to feel kind of like a failure in the "Do big things for God" department.  I mean four some odd years ago we thought for sure we would be able to downsize our house (mortgage payment), lifestyle, go on lots of missions trips, etc, etc, etc.  Of course nothing went down like we thought and we were downsized alright, just not voluntarily... yet big things are happening again around here and even the yucky things have been like blazing arrows pointing us down a lighted path that it feels like God is clearing the way for us to walk on.  It might be months until I have details for you.  I look back and can see exactly how God led us through a sort of dessert place to get us to a place flowing with proverbial milk and honey, and all the mission we could possibly want (or handle, truthfully) just in a totally different capacity than we ever imagined.  I can't share details of any of that either but I do know this- Adrain and I have been given a mission as a couple that only he and I could have done and you'll have to take our word for that one.  It was for us and only us.  If all the things we'd thought and prayed to happen had come to pass we would have completely missed out on this thing in our hands today.  And isn't that the glorious, beautiful, messy, heartbreaking way of it sometimes? It might not be moving mountains but it's loving on some individual hearts that are very precious to God and we get to be His hands and feet directly!  Life changing, all around. 

Okay truthfully, I'd love to sit here and chat about a ton of frivolous things but kids are walking in the door in a moment and I've got to hurry.  However before I go here is a whirlwind of by the front door before you head out topics- 1) I have an addiction to latte art youtube videos.  They are crazy awesome.  2) I made a huge neck warmer and I have gotten about two dozen compliments and I'm telling you it stopped traffic at Costco the other day, making my man just roll his eyes and laugh.  I used huge needles and size 6 yarn and it is my very favorite thing- like ever. 3) I rearranged the studio/office/guest room and I hate it but it's got to be this way.  I really will have to share...  4) One of my besties, Alli has been making me almost pee my pants for the past two days over Halloween emails and if you could read what the two of us say to one another you would die laughing too.  She is a bad influence in the best of ways. KnowwhatImean? 5) I have a VERY COOL diy to share on Monday- it's a Pottery Barn knock off advent calendar and I'm getting tingles just looking at how awesomely it's coming together (see above photo).  6) I'll also be having a Younique party on Monday via the virtual world and I'll share more about that as well as a couple new vintage ornament prints that I'm very excited about!  Gonna be a fun week next week! 

Happy Halloween Peeps!
 photo PostSignature_zpsb6968ede.png